Why Didn’t Gokey Make It to the ’Idol’ Final?

Kris Allen is leading a charmed life.

An underdog coming into this week’s American Idol Top 3, Allen had been gaining momentum amongst fans and in the blogosphere in recent weeks.

The fact that momentum was enough to overcome Danny Gokey and a seemingly predestined Gokey-Adam Lambert final was surprising.

Gokey’s story of overcoming his wife’s death and his commitment to his faith as a church musician are inspirational. He has a bright future in entertainment and envisioning him as the next big thing in contemporary Christian music is hardly a stretch.

So then, it begs the question, why didn’t he make it to the finals?

One of the best explanations may have come from a Twitter post I came across last night in the immediate wake of the results. The writer claimed the math was simple, Gokey and Allen spilt the “mainstream” vote and Lambert captured the attention of everyone who sees his theatrical flamboyance as a huge asset.

The first interesting part of this argument is: What could be defined as “mainstream?” That’s a loaded question in and of itself. If that assertion is correct, however, it could point to an Allen upset win in the final if Allen and Lambert were truly only one million votes apart.

Allen has strong Christian credentials himself, having performed at Conway, Ark.’s New Life Church and the Chi Alpha student ministry at University of Central Arkansas.

Does then, the Idol finals point to yet another skirmish in the culture wars?

Before you completely discount that, think just briefly about the entire controversy surrounding the Carrie Prejean-Perez Hilton-topless photos flap. Or the almost daily stories about the progress of same-sex marriage proponents. Or the tension at Notre Dame over President Obama’s commencement address this weekend.

Without question, the American Idol final doesn’t have the same political ramifications as, say, the upcoming vote in Maine over same-sex marriage or the California Supreme Court’s decision on the validity of Proposition 8.

Yet Lambert’s incredible talent wrapped in what has often been referred to as his “gender-bending” style against the Southern front porch guitar strummer image portrayed by Allen creates an undeniable contrast.

In the long run, Gokey very well may end up being the biggest star of all three. His likeable personality and his timeless story of turning tragedy into triumph through his faith may make him a household name for years to come.

Allen is still a long-shot to win. A quick survey of Vegas odds – and oh, yes you can bet big bucks this – put Allen’s chances at 5-to-1 and compared to 3-to-1 for Lambert.

Bet on this before you predict a Lambert blowout: You and I will both be watching and people’s cultural beliefs will play a role in the voting regardless of who belts out the better tune.


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  1. LazarusPDX said:

    The bottom line is that Adam’s talent and vocal ability simply are in a totally different category than that of any other contestant. Danny Gokey has a great voice, yes, but that was it. Apart from that he really has no musical ability. He was the definition of mediocrity. He was onoriginal and wasn’t able to branch out and use his voice creatively. I realize that there is a predisposition to root for him because you feel a connection to him as a Christian, and a predisposition to root against Adam because he’s not, but come on, are these reason to vote for/against someone. You may not like Adam’s background or style, but to even suggest that Gokey can match his vocal abilities is beyond silly. Gokey should put out a Christian album. It will do well. He simply doesn’t have what it takes to make it in any other market.

    May 14, 2009
  2. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I certainly agree Adam is a tremendously talented singer.

    May 15, 2009
  3. Imblessed said:

    It is no coincidence to me that the immensely talented young man Adam Lambert has been thrown in the mix with these two committed Christian peers. It is my prayer that Kris’ relationship with Adam will be influential in eventually leading Adam to Christ. I think rather than publicly pointing out the diversity between the two lifestyles (as so many Christians seem to be doing) and judging actions that are conquered and/or changed only through the power of the Spirit, the greater Christian community should be praying for Adam’s salvation. As for the AI win, let’s pray that God’s best for each of these special young men (whether that is winning or losing) be accomplished. I pray for God’s mercy and grace to penetrate the understanding and heart of Mr. Lambert resulting in his submission to Christ and the invasion of God’s peace and purpose upon him and the power to walk according to God’s will.

    May 16, 2009

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